Spoilers ahead for Episodes 1-7 of Stranger Things Season 4. The Hawkins gang has never faced a villain quite like Vecna. Picking up just six months after the Mind Flayer’s defeat at the Starcourt Mall, Season 4 opens with the usual characters split up across the globe. Notably, Eleven is still powerless in California, while Nancy begins investigating the murder of high school cheerleader in Indiana. This leads Nancy to the tragic story of Victor Creel, who claims a demon killed his family decades ago; in search of answers, Nancy, Robin, Steve, and newcomer Eddie end up stuck in the Upside Down. At the same time, Eleven is kidnapped by Martin Brenner — aka her old “Papa” — and has to journey through her traumatic memories to remember why she busted open a gate to the other side to begin with.
By the end of Part 1, these two stories have converged in a shocking revelation of what and who Vecna is. At the same time, Vecna, the Russians, and what appears to be the U.S. government launch their own attacks, leaving each set of characters in dire straits going into Part 2. Here’s everything we’re wondering about so far.
Is Eleven Strong Enough To Defeat Vecna?
There wouldn’t be a show without Eleven’s powers, so it was always pretty obvious Eleven would get them back. But she only recovers them after a shocking twist: She remembers that she opened the Upside Down because she was trying to stop the murderous 001, her “older brother” in Brenner’s experiments and Victor Creel’s son, from killing her after he killed all their siblings. One was pushed through the gate, and as a result, his body twisted and he turned into Vecna. This is the first time we’ve had real clarity on why the creatures from the Upside Down keep aggressively going after Eleven, who ruined One’s initial plans of world domination. But is she strong enough to defeat him for good this time? And will she get there in time before he actually kills one of her friends?
What Will Happen To Nancy & Steve?
Meanwhile, Nancy, Robin, Steve, and Eddie manage to figure out how to contact Dustin, Lucas, and Erica from the Upside Down. They toss a makeshift rope through a new gate in Eddie’s trailer, but before Nancy and Steve can go through, Vecna puts Nancy under a trance. While Steve and Nancy’s body are left in the Upside Down — likely being circled by the Demo bats — Nancy’s mind is pulled to the same black space Eleven uses for her own telepathy. This is different from the attack on Max, which brought her mind to the Upside Down. So where is Nancy’s mind now, really? Will music still snap her out of it? And is it possible Eleven can reach her in that space, even from far away?
Are Nancy & Steve Still In Love?
It seems the only thing the Duffer brothers love more than Dungeons & Dragons references is a messy romance. Steve had already gone through the emotional journey of getting over Nancy in prior seasons, but it appears diving into the dating pool has since made him regret all his decisions. (Relatable.) So are we are just going to rehash the Jonathan-Nancy-Steve love triangle once again? Or are we to believe Nancy and Steve are the true endgame couple?
Are Max & The Others Really Safe?
Now that we know Vecna is just like Eleven, it’s hard to imagine that a little Kate Bush music, as addictive as it is, will stop him from attacking them. We know Eleven can strike several targets at once, so what’s stopping him from going after the rest of the kids while he has a hold on Nancy? (Or if you want to really stress yourself out, what’s stopping him from even telepathically going after Hopper, who he must be aware is close to Eleven?)
How Is Hopper Going To Escape The Prison?
With the help of Joyce and Murray, Hopper is thankfully able to fend off the Demogorgon for the moment. But they’re still stuck in a very armed Russian prison, and last time we checked, Yuri’s plane was totaled in the crash. Also, when are they going to find out what’s going on with all the kids?
What’s Going On With Will?
It’s undeniable that something’s going on with Will, who looks less than happy to be playing third wheel to Mike and Eleven in Season 3. It’s long been a fan theory that Will is actually gay, and recent comments by David Harbour and Finn Wolfhard for Netflix Latinoamérica suggest that Will is in love with Mike. But is Will going to actually confess, or as it happens with many queer characters, is this just going to remain subtext?
Meanwhile, what’s up with the painting Will keeps hiding? Does it maybe have something to do with his crush, or it it meant to hint that Will still has some connection to the Mind Flayer and the Upside Down?
What’s Up With The Colonel?
In Season 4, we meet Lt. Col. Sullivan, a hard-nosed military man who seems convinced that all the attacks in Hawkins are Eleven’s fault. (He’s not completely wrong.) But his tactics are brutal, and it’s unclear if he’s truly acting on behalf of the U.S. government, or if someone else is calling the shots.
What Are Jason & The Jocks Planning?
Taking over for Billy as the resident high school bully is Jason, the boyfriend of Vecna victim Chrissy. He’s been on the hunt for Eddie, Dustin, and Lucas since her death, but so far he hasn’t accomplished anything other than stir up animosity around town. How close is he to finding Eddie? And what are Erica, Robin, and Dustin going to do if he spots them in the house while Nancy and Steve are stuck in the Upside Down?
Finally, Season 4 takes great pains to show how One killed all of Eleven’s siblings, but we know that at least one of them got out some time before that: Eight, aka Kali. So where is she now? Following her and Eleven’s polarizing episode, the Duffer brothers have not done much to confirm how integral she is to the story, if at all. But she does briefly appear in one of Eleven’s flashbacks. So does that mean she’ll come back to help Eleven defeat Vecna? After all, if there’s anyone who can help her stand up to him, it’s going to be one of their siblings.